Associate Director for Evaluation Partnerships, Senior Research Associate
Policy Analysis and Management

Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Room 2211



Dr. Hargraves’ early career was in Economics. She received a B.A. in Economics with high honor from Princeton University. She went on to work as an Assistant Economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, focusing on topics in monetary policy and money and banking. She pursued graduate studies at the University of Rochester, received a PhD in Economics in 1988, and joined the faculty of Brown University as an Assistant Professor. In 1992 she accepted a two-year position in the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the IMF her work focused on the financial and macroeconomic crisis in Japan, monetary policy and financial intermediation in the U.S. and monetary transmission in Switzerland. She contributed to and coordinated portions of the IMF's semi-annual World Economic Outlook.

An increasing interest in applied, community-based work prompted a change in her professional path. She joined the staff of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Tompkins County, NY in 1998 and took on a number of different roles over the course of ten years at CCETC including program management, volunteer development, database design, strategic planning, evaluation, and organizational development. In 2008 she left CCETC for Cornell University, to join the applied research team at the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE). She is now the Associate Director for Evaluation Partnerships at CORE.

Dr. Hargraves is actively engaged in research on and application of CORE’s relational, systems approach to evaluation, originating in the Systems Evaluation Protocol developed by CORE with research funding from the National Science Foundation. Her particular focus has been on evolutionary evaluation and evaluation capacity-building through evaluation partnerships between program staff and evaluation specialists. Hargraves is currently engaged in multiple collaborative projects with colleagues at Montclair State University to evaluate programs and build evaluation capacity among program professionals working in the area of youth character development (funded by the John Templeton Foundation); evaluation capacity building for character development program teams in the Global South (funded by Templeton World Charity Foundation); and an evaluation partnership with the Ministry Leadership Center (supported by the Hilton Foundation) to explore efforts to infuse and sustain mission values in a large Catholic health care system. Prior to these projects, she was heavily engaged in the USDA-funded collaborative action research project Food Dignity which involved deep partnerships with five community-based organizations across the U.S. working to strengthen local food systems and social justice. The work and learning from that five-year project culminated in, among other outcomes, a special issue in July 2018 of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. .

In all these contexts she is deeply interested in how the tools of systems evaluation, foundational principles of evolutionary evaluation, and a relational approach to evaluation can be applied to recognize and illuminate diverse sources of expertise, elevate community and practitioner voice in program design and evaluation, and create unique bridges between the expertise of on-the-ground practitioners and leaders and those supporting or researching this work.

As part of the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE) team, Dr. Hargraves has been actively involved in research that builds on CORE’s NSF-funded projects to develop, test, apply, and disseminate CORE's systems approach to evaluation, specifically the Systems Evaluation Protocol (SEP) and the Netway cyber-infrastructure that supports it. She is engaged in research on evolutionary evaluation, evaluative thinking, and evaluation capacity-building. From this foundation, and based on experience in applying the SEP in a wide range of programmatic contexts, Hargraves is working with colleagues at CORE and at the Institute for Research on Youth Thriving and Evaluation (RYTE) at Montclair State University to refine an evaluation approach they call Relational Systems Evaluation (RSE). RSE recognizes and attends to the interactive, relational nature of systems evaluation and the value of a partnership approach for evaluation and evaluation capacity building.

Recent research projects include the PACE Project (Partnerships for Advancing Character program Evaluation) in collaboration with the RYTE Institute, and the Food Dignity Project in collaboration with colleagues at Cornell University, the University of Wyoming, and five community partner organizations around the country. The PACE Project (funded by the John Templeton Foundation) focused on increasing the extent and quality of evaluation in the field of youth character virtue development using an innovative partnership approach to build evaluation capacity in both program and evaluation professionals. The PACE research team is actively analyzing their extensive quantitative and qualitative data and is preparing manuscripts for publication. The Food Dignity Project, a USDA/AFRI-funded collaborative action research project, sought lessons from community-based organizations on how to build sustainable community food systems. Hargraves served as co-editor of a special volume of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (July 2018) devoted to the Food Dignity project and is author of several papers within that volume.

Hargraves, M., & Denning, C. (2018). Visualizing Expertise: Collaborative Pathway Modeling as a Methodology for Conveying Community-driven Strategies for Change. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 101-115.

Hargraves, M. (2018). Learning from Community-Designed Minigrant Programs in the Food Dignity Project. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 117-146.

Porter, C., Woodsum, G., & Hargraves, M. (2018). Introduction—and Invitation—to the Food Dignity Special Issue. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 1-4.

Hargraves, M., Porter, C., & Woodsum, G. (2018). Leading Food Dignity. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 27-31.

Hargraves, M. (2018). Introduction to the Food Dignity Values Statement. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 33-35.

Trochim, W., Urban, J. B., Hargraves, M., Hebbard, C., Buckley, J., Archibald, T., Johnson, M., & Burgermaster, M. (2016). The Guide to the Systems Evaluation Protocol (V 3.1). Ithaca, NY: Cornell Digital Print Services.

Hargraves, M. & Buckley, J., Eds. (2015). Workbook for the Systems Evaluation Protocol. Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation, Ithaca, NY: Cornell Digital Print Services.

Buckley, J., Archibald, T., Hargraves, M., & Trochim, W.M. (2015). Defining and Teaching Evaluative Thinking: Insights from Research on Critical Thinking. American Journal of Evaluation, 36(3) 357-388. 

Urban, J.B., Hargraves, M., & Trochim, W.M. (2014). Evolutionary evaluation: Implications for evaluators, researchers, practitioners, funders and the evidence-based program mandate. Evaluation and Program Planning, 45, 127-139


Member, American Evaluation Association.

Dr. Hargraves’ applied research and evaluation capacity building projects, and the partnership approach she uses throughout her work, have contributed to program development and evaluation in an array of community-based programs across the U.S. and internationally. Many of these projects are collaborations with the Institute for Research on Youth Thriving and Evaluation (RYTE) at Montclair State University and, as such, involve youth development programs. These have included youth character development programs in the U.S. and Honduras; and character virtue development initiatives for community-based parenting programs, for school leaders in the U.S. Midwest, and for front-line healthcare workers in Pakistan. Hargraves' work in the Food Dignity Project built relationships with and supported the work of five community partner organizations working on sustainable and just community food systems in diverse settings and communities across the U.S. The Food Dignity Project collaborations, including Hargraves’ development of the values-driven Collaborative Pathway Modeling strategy, continue to our understanding of the nature of and obstacles to deeply collaborative partnerships between academic researchers and community leaders and activists.

In addition to formalized applied research and public engagement initiatives, Hargraves continues to collaborate by invitation with Cornell Cooperative Extension to provide staff professional development in the areas of program development and evaluation, provides evaluation consultations on an occasional basis to local community organizations and projects and to various projects funded by Cornell’s Office for Engagement Initiatives.

Ph.D. Economics, University of Rochester 1988
B.A. Magna cum Laude, Economics, Princeton University 1981

The website for the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation ( provides a range of general resources and links useful for evaluation work in general, and situates the Evaluation Partnership work within the larger body of research on a systems approach to evaluation that CORE is engaged in.  CORE staff members' annual presentations at the American Evaluation Association meetings, along with other research presentations are linked here. 

The website for the USDA-funded Food Dignity project ( provides background on and motivation for the 5-year project, information about the research components, and presents the work of the five community partner organizations working on sustainable local food system initiatives in Brooklyn NY, Tompkins County NY, Laramie WY, Wind River Reservation WY, and Oakland CA. 

The website for the PACE Project (Partnerships for Advancing Character Program Evaluation: ) describes the innovative approach to evaluation capacity building embedded in the project design. This 3-year project was funded by the John Templeton Foundation, with the goal of strengthening evaluation of youth character development programs around the country by building capacity in both program staff and evaluation professionals interested in youth character programs.

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